Legend Lending chief innovation officer on digitization and the importance of a human element in lending

Jemma Pachiano was selected as a 2019 HW Insider — nominations for the 2023 HW Insiders close today!

The HousingWire award spotlight series highlights the individuals and organizations that have been recognized through our Editors’ Choice Awards. Nominations for HousingWire’s 2023 HW Insiders are open until the end of today, June 23, 2023. Click here to nominate someone from your organization today.

Today marks the last day to submit a nomination for the 2023 HW Insiders award. Each year, HW Insiders provides the industry with the unique opportunity to recognize those individuals who are making a huge impact on their organizations but are often behind the scenes. 

HousingWire reached out to 2019 HW Insiders honoree Jemma Pachiano, chief innovation officer at Legend Lending. We spoke with her about what she has been up to since her nomination nearly four years ago. Pachiano shared an update on her career, industry insights on digitization and advice for anyone entering the mortgage industry.

HousingWire: When you were selected for HW Insiders in 2019 you were the National Support and Training Director at Mid America Mortgage. What has your career trajectory been like since then?

Jemma Pachiano: I am honored to say my career trajectory has been beyond rewarding since 2019. In January of 2021 I was promoted to chief operating officer of Mid America Mortgage, Inc. Throughout 2021 I grew our operations team to achieve 10,500 units funded, which was a 300% increase in originations year over year. My amazing team and I accomplished this tremendous growth while still maintaining high service level standards. In April of 2022, the retail division of Mid America Mortgage, Inc. was acquired by Legend Lending Corporation. I was then promoted to chief innovation officer of Legend Lending Corporation. This new role has challenged me to learn another side of mortgage retail originations. In this role I have focused on reengineering our risk management, quality control and written policies and procedures in preparation for our strong future.

HW: What advice would you give anyone coming up in the mortgage industry? 

JP: The mortgage industry can provide tremendous reward, but you will only get out as much as you put in. I would not call the mortgage profession a nine to five job. The home buying process is one of the biggest life events people will go through. You are essentially on call for quick and precise reactions to so many varying scenarios. The lifecycle of a mortgage process evolves very fast and you must continuously be open to learning and adapting to new methodologies and technologies. In the end you get to be a part of one of the most powerful financial decisions most people ever get to make in their lives. 

HW: The industry — and the world as a whole! — has been through a lot since 2019. What is the most notable difference between housing in 2023 compared to 2019? 

JP: So many things come to mind with this question. Just like with most things in our lives, digitization is the prevailing topic. How we meet our customers, how we support our referral partners, how we choose our vendors, how we qualify our borrowers, how we meet compliance and QC requirements, how we underwrite, close and deliver mortgages involves a partial or fully digitized process. Additionally, the mortgage industry has experienced extreme highs and lows in both company growth and fundings as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and economic factors; because of this mortgage companies must be more intentional with their decision making and borrowers have become more cautious with their decision making. 

HW: What do you see for the future of housing?

JP: One thing will never change, and that is mortgage lending provides a path to homeownership. The future will no doubt bring more and more digitization. This will include rapid advancements in the methodologies in determining a borrowers’ ability to repay, approving and closing loans. But even with the rapid progress in technology, the mortgage buying process has so many life-defining emotions for borrowers, that there will always be a human element that just cannot be replaced by technology. Let’s embrace technology, but never forget our why, the opportunity to guide our borrowers to the dream of homeownership.

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